At dinner last night we were talking about how life balances things out. How every time there's a run of good luck something happens to remind us not to take things for granted and vice versa, when things seem to be unrelentingly cloudy and gray, eventually a glorious rainbow forms over the horizon as a signal that all clouds have a silver lining buried somewhere in their depths. It was a wonderful and unusual evening. Wonderful in that we were having dinner with two very interesting and engaging dinner companions, unusual in that we were in the Dining Room at Keyah Grande sharing a meal with our guests at their request. Since there were no other guests staying with us yesterday evening, it was a pleasant change of pace to sit down with our companions and break bread and sip wine at the table.
And speaking of the wines, they were amazing. We were privileged to drink the 1997 Vineyard 29 and the 2002 Screaming Eagle. The wines were very different and in wonderful condition. Don had shipped them in from his personal wine cellar just for our dinner and we had decanted them a few hours before dinner. We kept the meal very simple to let the wines really take the spotlight. The first course was a chopped salad with romaine, tomatoes, onions and bacon, dressed simply with lime juice. For the entree we had slow cooked, grass-fed fillet mignon with truffled potato puree and sauteed broccoli. Dessert was old fashioned hot fudge sundaes with candied walnuts and whipped cream. It was a match made in heaven, if I do say so myself.
The Vineyard 29 was a beautiful wine. It had a faint echo of Bordeaux in it's dusty, slightly barnyard-y flavors with hints of roses, black olives, a hint of eucalyptus, cedar and a long, lingering finish of black cherries. It had a strong backbone with bright acidity and firm tannins and will definitely last for several more years in the bottle. It was a fabulous match with the bacon in the salad and a total indulgence paired simply with bread and Diane's butter.
The Screaming Eagle reminded me of heavy folds of raw silk slipping through my fingertips. The wine was smooth and silky on the palate with a definite richness and soft viscosity on the palate. It had a rich deep color and an aroma that drifted across the table as soon as the wine was poured from the decanter. It was extremely well integrated, especially considering it's youth. There were notes of smoke and bittersweet chocolate, roasted currants and oak. The finish was long and smooth and it was great match for the truffled potatoes and hot fudge sauce. Frankly I don't think that either of us ever expected to be drinking Screaming Eagle, ever, and the fact that Don and Sharon wanted to share it with us made every sip taste that much better.
This past week absolutely proved my theory about the generosity of oenophiles. People who love wine love to share them and to teach others to love them too. We've tasted some truly inspirational wines this past week, shared stories and swapped information on the different wineries of California. It was an incredible pleasure just to talk to the two of them and we would have had a great time even if we had never tasted a thing. But last night's dinner, our companions and the wines that we drank are an experience that will stay with us for a lifetime.